Politics Friday: recalls, upcoming elections and a poll
This week, Republicans handed in petitions to force recall elections for three Democratic senators: Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin and Bob Wirch. They have legitimate shots in each of those districts, but Wirch seems like the least likely pickup from here. None can be picked up unless the GOP can find legitimate candidates to provide an alternative and it will remain to be seen if that’s the case.
Meanwhile, the number of GOP senators facing likely recall elections is up to five: Dan Kapanke, Sheila Harsdorf, Randy Hopper, Luther Olsen and Alberta Darling. In at least four of those districts, the Democrats already have strong candidates lined up. A good early test of strength will be the open 94th Assembly District, where La Crosse County Board Chair Steve Doyle will try to take the seat held by GOP Rep. Mike Huebsch since 1995, until he left to assume the position of Department of Administration secretary in January. That election is scheduled for May 3, so stay tuned. (Yes, there are two other Assembly elections that day. No, they won’t matter.)
JoAnne Kloppenburg has requested a recount in the Supreme Court election and David Prosser should be thanking her. Why? Because the most likely outcome would be to make his narrow victory look far more legitimate than it has since two days after the election with the Waukesha County fiasco.
The Wisconsin Public Radio – St. Norbert’s College poll has been released, just as it is every spring around this time. Of course, this isn’t like any other spring in Wisconsin. One telling result is that 57 percent view Walker’s assault on unions as having little to do with the budget and mostly to do with trying to weaken unions. A majority also support collective bargaining rights for public employees on health insurance and working conditions, which are both banned under Walker’s bill. Nearly half disapprove of Walker’s performance (48 percent) and 47 percent say they would support a Walker recall. Sixty-seven percent disapproved of his cuts to K-12 education. (There’s some real cognitive dissonance between November and the end of March in Wisconsin, don’t you think?)
On Thursday, former state senator Pat Kreitlow announced that he will be kicking off a run against 7th District GOP Congressman Sean Duffy next Monday. This will be interesting, since it remains to be seen what the 7th District will actually look like after re-districting takes place later this year. Kreitlow was mentioned as a possible contender for the congressional seat in 2010. He ended up losing his Senate seat to former GOP Assembly rep Terry Moulton in the November 2010 tsunami, but it sure looks like some of the water from that wave may be washing back out to sea. The results of the elections this summer – the ones we didn’t even know would be happening back in early February – may provide a bit of an indicator.